QA Software Engineer

  • QA Software Engineer

Game development studios rely on a number of third-party and proprietary systems to ensure the effectiveness of game testing, also called quality assurance. QA software engineers build and implement the tools necessary for game debugging, build verification, automated testing, and data analysis.


Duties

It may be easier to understand the responsibilities of a QA software engineer by understanding that the core duties fall into following three primary categories: development, customer service, and data analysis. Under the umbrella of development, the engineer is tasked with building, implementing, and maintaining quality assurance tools inserted into the game production code. This in itself is essentially a hefty load of scripting and testing. Engineers must adhere to company standards for coding and porting systems to the game production code, as well as promote best practices for quality assurance testing models.

The QA software engineer’s customers may be designers or programmers within his or her own studio, or members of sister studios. Among the duties related to customer service are writing and presenting plans for system builds and negotiating with the end users concerning features, functionality, and timeline for the creation of the new tool. The QA software engineers must also maintain regular communication with clients to monitor the performance of the systems delivered and advise on troubleshooting issues.

Data analysis, including all documentation generated concerning standard operating procedure and troubleshooting processes, is published and supplied to the end user or made available through a central filesharing system. A scientific approach is employed by QA software engineers to define the best method of testing for a particular system, and thereafter used as the foundation for building the functional tool. Engineers collaborate with their clients to gather the necessary requirements and parameters of the tool’s operation, and document those findings in reports. Another crucial component of data analysis is the internal testing conducted in the QA department to ensure the stability of delivered tools.

Skills & Education

A bachelor’s degree in computer science, game development, or a related field is required. Advanced mathematical skills are necessary, as is a thorough knowledge of software testing tools. A QA software engineer must be proficient in C++, Java, PHP, SQL, AJAX, SharePoint, and web design, as well as current generation game consoles. Additional common requirements include competency in Microsoft Office products, Access, InfoPath, Visio, Excel, Word, and Outlook. To qualify for this position, you must demonstrate your ability to debug and determine root cause analysis on numerous software systems, plan test patterns, and document procedures. Excellent communication skills are necessary. Coursework in technical writing is helpful in learning how to properly document standard operating procedures for end users.

What to Expect

QA software engineers collaborate with development staff at all levels, from producers and artists to programmers and game testers; their primary concern is to aid in stable construction of the game and to advocate best practices for quality assurance while maintaining high productivity. That simply means that these engineers want to help produce a game that works well, is thoroughly tested, and is delivered on time. Think of this as a service-oriented role that caters to the varied needs of studio staff as clients. Prior experience in software programming in the game industry is required, and previous work history as a game tester is preferred.

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